A bipartisan group of legislators today (Monday) proposed a plan to encourage local governments to share more services, with the goal of reducing property taxes. Senator Jeff Angelo, a republican from Creston, says it’s time to do something big. “At some point, you know legislators get tired of nibbling around the edges. I’ve been here nine years and we try to do reform and we’re just nibbling around the margins. We’re not doing major change,” he says. “There are a lot of legislators who are of the mind, you know, that ‘I can here to do something significant.” Angelo believes his idea will ultimately reduce taxes because city and county governments can be run more efficiently. Angelo envisions cities and counties sharing cops and other ways in which services are consolidated and better managed. “For instance, each individual county at this point has its own County Recorder,” angelo says. “Perhaps at some there would be a County Recorder (who) is managing several counties. There would still be a local staff at every courthouse, but your manager would be one person overseeing a region. I think there’ll be a lot of ideas like that shared.” In some cases, Angelo says the state might choose to back partnerships with state money. He says as one incentive, the state might pay part of the salary of an attorney who worked as the County Attorney for several counties. In 2011, the plan would whack cities and counties that do not come up with such budget-saving ideas by freezing local property taxes. Governor Tom Vilsack praised Angelo and the 11 other legislators who have been meeting with him over the past two months to devise new ways of running and paying for government in Iowa. “This is really good work that you’ve done. You’ve done a great service to the state,” Vilsack says. “We just need to kind of finish the job next week.” The governor and the panel of legislators will meet a final time next Monday to reveal most of their ideas.
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